It’s being referred to as Bridgerton meets The Bachelorette.
Formally known as “Pride & Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance,” NBC’s The Courtship, where swiping is out and courting is in, kicked off on Sunday March 6 with the premier episode entitled First Impressions.
In the premier episode, we’re introduce to Nicole Remy, a software engineer from Seattle. Her family, and bestie, are also there with her to act as chaperones of sorts as Remy navigates Regency era courtship.
(The word “Regency” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that last sentence, but be warned, the only thing “Regency” era about the show is, well, nothing.)
And while I know 99% of my dear readers will know when and what the Regency era refers to, before I continue for those who don’t, Regency refers to early 19th C England. It’s a niche of a mere 20 or so years that fits between the Georgian and Victorian periods. Attitudes, economics, and politics all changed near the end of the 18th C and the years of “mad” King George III. He was deemed unfit and his son, soon to be known as King George IV, ruled as prince regent. Some continue to call that period from 1790s ish to 1820s ish as Georgian and the truly barbarians refer to Austen and her contemporaries as Victorian, which I assure you the Brontes would have a word or two to say about that!
Now I continue.
In the opening scenes, Remy is handed 16 letters from her suitors. The gentlemen, and I’ll try and refrain from calling them dude bros, took calligraphy lessons for this challenge. As Remy opens up each letter, she and her entourage ooh and aww over which letters capture her heart and what letters didn’t make the grade like the gentlemen who wrote about wanting a “best friend with sexual passion” (that was read by Remy’s mother).
While this is going on, Mr. Edwards, the host, meets the gentlemen at the entrance of the castle where they are all saying. Introducing themselves, Mr. Edwards asks what would make them stand out from the others and most offer up the usual answers: “I’m fun.” “I’m kind and loving.” Etc ad nauseum. Some have dance moves and others sing (badly).
The men make their way and meet Remy and her chaperones. Just like The Bachelorette’s cocktail hour, the guests mingle and chat while Remy tries to figure out which ones she likes best.
Later, like the rose ceremony in Bachelor Nation, a grand ball is held. Remy has singled out the guys she likes least by putting them on her dance card. The rest of the evening follows Remy and her suitors as she gentle tells them, “I appreciate you but your carriage awaits” to those she’s not clicking with.
Some choice quotes:
- “Ever been in love?” “With cake maybe, not with people.”
- “I’ve taken girls in my van to places … Not in a creepy way!”
- “Where can I get a corn dog around here?”
I joked with Erika that The Courtship was bad, but not really. Mostly. The Regency era, thanks to Bridgerton, is having a renaissance so I can see the appeal of show. The gimmick, courtship and chivalry, will appeal to many as long as they understand the Regency era, for all the beautiful gowns and handsome men in cravets, was wholly different then what is being shown on TV. I worry that Regency and Austen purists will clutch pearls watching the show but it’s harmless fun. We’re not curing cancer here, we’re having a good time watching people make fools of themselves.
The Courtship is filmed at Castle Howard, a 145 room “manor house” located in Yorkshire, UK. The home is a private residence but has been open to the public since the 1950s.
145 rooms! Heck, my partner and I live in a open plan condo and we can barely keep that clean.
The Courtship airs Sunday nights at 8PM ET on NBC and the following day on Peacock.
(I hate commercials so I am watching on Peacock the following day so recaps may be a day or two behind.)